Remedial Saddling

Remedial Saddling is something that BALANCE has been providing and teaching about, since 1993 and is beautifully equipped to provide to horse owners today.

The term 'Remedial Saddling' refers to a slightly different approach to working with a saddle when a horse is underdeveloped in its muscle through the saddle area, but is expected to recover that muscle and therefore, change in width and shape. Examples of situations where this can occur would be:

  • after the horse has been laid off work from injury, particularly if box rest was prescribed
  • after a horse has been ill and lost condition and weight
  • with a young and underdeveloped horse who is expected to grow
  • with an elderly horse who has changed in shape and muscle mass
  • most commonly after a restrictive saddle has been used for more than a few months
  • a horse that has been under-fed for the amount of work it has been asked to do
Severe muscle wastage.

If we use the example of the chestnut horse shown above, we can see that the horse has got so little healthy muscle in the saddle area now, that the bony withers and the back of the shoulder blade are exposed and very vulnerable to further damage.

However, if you look at the rib-cage and can you imagine what the saddle area would look like if the horse could recover its natural and healthy muscle mass?

To fit a saddle using outdated, conventional methods, the saddle fitter would want to find a saddle that has a tree width that is narrow enough to make sure the saddle has about 3 fingers of clearance above the withers. It would have to be very narrow than, because, as you can see, there is almost no muscle to support a saddle and keep it lifted up!

The trouble is, that in this case, a narrow saddle is exactly what caused the horse to lose all the muscle in the first place!

Conventional Saddle Fitting methods can cause considerable problems.

In fact, this horse had started its ridden life at the age of 4, with a healthy, well-muscled back. However, when it was fitted with its first saddle, the saddle that was bought was not as wide as he was. The tree width gave plenty of clearance over the wither, which had seemed to the owner and the saddle fitter the most important thing and the saddle was a pretty colour and the right price.

Clearance created through pressures in soft tissues.

However over the next couple of years, the pressures and the blocking of healthy blood flow to the soft tissues under the saddle caused the horse to lose muscle mass. The saddle fitter had to use extra flocking (with made the panels even harder) and eventually a narrower tree as the horse's shape changed so much. All the time this was going on, the horse's performance, attitude and soundness were all deteriorating.

Client testimonials

  • I received my bit and I am thrilled with it!! It is for my mare, who has competed through Prix St. George but has been very hard to find a bit for. She has sharp bars, and despite every effort on my part, she has often had small bruises on the edges of her tongue.  I ride many horses and she is the only one this has happened to. I have been at a loss for what to change and how to make her comfortable. I was looking for a fairly thick bit that would be very stable in the mouth. The (BALANCE) Fulmer fits the bill and is working beautifully. It is really well designed and nicely made.

    Katie - United States

  • "The BALANCE lunge cavesson has worked wonders for my stressed, rushy, motorbike horse. Lunging used to closely resemble the wall of death!  It has changed her attitude towards her work and has relaxed,  strengthened and straightened her no end."

    Sarah - United Kingdom

  • "BALANCE, the time you continue to take for me, I am so touched. Thank you. The care and love you have for me, our horses, and horses around the world is astounding.  It takes time to  write thoughtful, caring, informative communications.  And, it is always just the right thing."

    Amy N. - United States

  • I can’t tell you how much I love my Zenith!!!  I went through 10 saddles in 6 years for my horse before I got my Zenith. Two were “custom” made for him. What a joke. I am on my 5th year with my Zenith and it is still perfect!!!  I cringe now when I see these very deep Dressage saddles with the huge thigh blocks. People ask me how I can ride in my Zenith with no thigh blocks and no deep seat. I say well now my horse is balanced and I don’t have to depend on the saddle to hold me. ☺️

    Melinda - United States

  • What can I say?  I love it!  The saddle and all of the accessories are great quality and look good but most importantly my horse is so comfortable that her stride has almost doubled, she glides round corners and works on the bridle with ease.  What a difference!

    Donna - Scotland